One thing I really love about Christmas is party food. Thinking about it, planning it – and making it. We often have a party around the 22nd December, and this year’s was the first in our new house. I served up some old and new favourites, all aimed at maximum flavour and minimum time.
First up, the blinis with salmon and horseradish creme fraiche. I searched for a recipe that didn’t involve yeast (blinis usually have this as an ingredient), and I found this one in a magazine years ago. It is super quick and tasty. Also, no packaging! Bought blinis usually come in loads of plastic and they’re expensive.
Sift 110g self raising flour into a bowl and season. Beat one egg with 150ml milk, then mix into the flour. Stir in two chopped spring onions. Heat a lightly greased non stick frying pan and drop in teaspoons of batter. When they start to bubble, flip them over, and cook until golden.
For the horse radish cream, mix a teaspoon of horseradish sauce with a small pot of creme fraiche (add more if you like it spicier). Put a blob of horseradish cream on to the blini and garnish with a piece of smoked salmon (if you’re on a budget, look for packs of smoked salmon fragments which are much cheaper). Add black pepper and place wedges of lemon on the serving dish.
Cheeseboard with homemade oat cakes
Can’t have a party without a cheeseboard, preferably with celery, grapes, pickled onions and chutney. Some home made oat cakes is a great addition and they can be baked ahead and stored in a tin.
Take 150g self raising flour, and 150g medium oatmeal, 50 g caster sugar (optional) and a pinch of salt. Mix in a bowl and rub in 75g margarine. Add enough milk to make a stiff dough. Roll out thinly, cut into circles and bake for about 15 minutes at 180 degrees, 350F.
Poppadom scoops with mango salsa
Another stand by from a past issue of Good Housekeeping magazine. This is so fresh, and suitable for vegetarians, it’s also GF.
Mix together a quarter of a red onion, one ripe mango, finely diced, half a green chilli, chopped and de-seeded, a small handful of coriander, chopped, and the zest and juice of a lime. This can be done up to a day ahead (minus the coriander). When you’re ready, take a bag of mini poppadoms and put a teaspoonful of salsa into each one.
Don’t prepare too soon, or the poppadoms will become soggy.
The next recipe is from this month’s Red magazine, and it’s the goats cheese truffles shown in my first picture. These are so pretty and delicious. Shape some soft goats’ cheese into small balls. Finely chop some dried cranberries, pistachio nuts and pink peppercorns (I got mine from Tiger Stores). Roll each ball in the mixture and skewer with a cocktail stick. Chill for about an hour. The magazine has some beautiful food styling and extra ideas.
Finally, there is no party without cheese straws. I’ve had this recipe since I was a child, and it’s retro fabulous.
Heat the oven to 180 degrees, 350F. Mix together 100g self raising flour, a pinch of salt, a pinch of mustard powder and rub in 50g margarine. Stir in 75g mature cheddar or Red Leicester cheese, finely grated. Add one beaten egg and mix to make a stiff dough. Roll out very thinly and cut it into strips. Bake until golden brown.
All done. Time to party…